Hoop Vols face high-scoring foe

Tennessee's basketball team will try to shut down the reigning NCAA scoring champion tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Vols host Virginia Military Institute, which features one of the game's most versatile offensive threats in swing man Jason Conley. A 6-5 sophomore from Chevy Chase, Md., Conley led the NCAA in scoring as a true freshman last year with a 29-point average.

Conley signed with VMI following high school but didn't qualify. After spending a year at Millersburg Military Academy in Kentucky, he had to sit out the 2000-01 season at VMI as a partial qualifier.

Conley's long-awaited college debut proved worth the wait. He put up big numbers with amazing regularity, including 24 against Kentucky, 26 against Virginia Tech and 38 against Villanova.

Tennessee is 1-0 after a disappointing 71-69 win over tiny Gardner-Webb last Friday night. Ron Slay (31 points), Higgins (20) and Brandon Crump (15) combined for 66 of the Vols' 71 points, so head coach Buzz Peterson is hoping for better balance tonight.

As for VMI, the Keydets are 1-0 after a 68-54 Game 1 drubbing of Liberty. All five starters are back from last year's team that went 10-18. The one to watch, of course, is Conley.

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